First Time Safari Advice And Awkward Question

Old Apr 13th, 2018, 11:49 PM
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First Time Safari Advice And Awkward Question

We are beginning to think about the idea of visiting South Africa next June. I have ordered a guide book to start understanding more about S.A., but in the meantime have started reading posts and exploring. We are in our fifties, in decent shape but not up for the "adventurous" level of travel anymore. Would someone be so kind as to explain the different "safari" and wildlife park options. I did visit the Wild-wings site and found it exciting but a little overwhelming. It looks like Kruger or Kwazulu-Natal might be our best options....any thoughts on that.

and probably the most important (and embarrassing) question of all. Being of a certain age I can't go more than an hour or two without needing to "go" if you know what I mean. I don't mind going behind a tree, but wouldn't want to be eaten by a lion while doing so. If one goes on the three hour jeep tours what happens if such a situation arises (needing a bathroom, not being eaten by a lion).?
milona8x is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2018, 06:52 AM
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I have never bee been to S.A, only Kenya and Tanzania so can’t comment specifically on your intended destination but will offer some general thoughts on both aspects of your question.

You mention you are not up for ‘adventurous’ level of travel and if you mean by this you don’t want to backpack or sleep under the stars, not to worry. Travel in Africa can be as comfortable and safe as you are willing to pay for. As you already know there are many, many options to chose from so much of it comes down to what appeals to you. Keep reading until you get an idea of what you most want to get out of a trip and then go from there. Posters here will all have their favourites, but chances are any well organized safari to just about any park will be a wonderful experience for a first-timer. We went with Road Scholar, which offers educational tours for travellers 55 plus, and recommend it highly. The trip exceeded our expectation in every respect, but that’s not to say however that other tour companies wouldn’t provide the same level of satisfaction.

In regard to your other question I know it was addressed in a thread here some time ago, and we learned of a humorous euphemism someone’s guide used for this awkward situation. I can't remember the details but rest assured that your guide will have in all likelihood dealt with the issue before and will have a solution. On our trip we had scheduled stops where a washroom, not always to western standard, was available. Cant recall for sure but probably the longest we went without a bathroom would be about 2.5 hours.

If you have not already done so please see your doctor to discuss possible causes and remedies for you problem. It undoubtedly affects your life at home as well as when travelling so if it can’t be corrected it may well get worse and will have to be managed going forward. I have a moderate urinary problem which occurs mostly when I drink coffee, and only certain types of coffee which I have been told have a component which affects the sphincter muscle. There is a wide range of products on the market to protect you in the case of an accident and I encourage you to investigate and try them out while at home. Put your embarrassment aside and do what you need to to relieve (no pun intended) your anxiety. Don’t let this issue hold you back from what will be an amazing. experience.

Wishing you well with your planning.
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Old Apr 14th, 2018, 09:43 AM
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I can't help you with your options in South Africa (although Kenya, Rwanda yes!) but I can assure you that it will be fine hitting the bush bathroom when nature calls. I don't think you have a "problem" at all that needs addressing. I'm not yet of a certain age but also need to find a nature break a few times during longer game drives. You can make the subtle request for a rest stop or bush bathroom and they will happily oblige. The guides will get out and find a bush or large to go behind, or failing that, you'll go behind one side of the vehicle while everyone else stretches their legs on the other. The guides will always circle the area on foot first to clear out any potential surprises. Also if you have lunch or breakfast out on a drive, they'll usually locate you near an area you can go while they're setting up or knocking down the breakfast gear. Don't worry about this one at all!
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Old Apr 14th, 2018, 12:33 PM
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Eliztravels, the humorous euphemism might have been what some of our guides used: "checking the tire pressure." Took me awhile to understand that was the term for squatting near the jeep's rear tire!
Another guide, in Samburu's dry terrain, would say, "Time to help Nature" before he "watered" the parched land.
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Old Apr 20th, 2018, 12:22 PM
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In my experience, the guides at private concessions will stop for you as soon as they come upon a safe place where you can alight fromm the vehicle. I am speaking here only of SA, Bots, Kenya and Tz. Iíve been only to those on safari trips.
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Old Apr 21st, 2018, 03:17 AM
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Having been on safari in several African countries I would say that South Africa is ‘easy’ and a good option for first time safari adventures. There are also many reasonably priced options if you are concerned with budget. For me, the main difference when on safari in South Africa is you don’t see the density of animals you see in other countries, particularly in the private reserves.

For safari options you really need to decide how long you will go for, what your budget is and what your must do’s / must see’s are. South Africa is a wonderful country with hundreds of unique options so think about what is important to you for your holiday and ask lots of questions.

Like you, I need a ‘bathroom break’ at least a dozen times a day. When on game drives you usually stop for sundowners and when drinks are served you know what follows. I usually take the opportunity to go behind a tree at the end of sundowners and sometimes need another stop before or after. It is never a problem and is safe.

Happy planning.
Bwino is offline  
Old Apr 21st, 2018, 02:48 PM
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Bathrooms on Safari

Here's the link to that older thread.
muskoka is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2018, 05:17 PM
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Absolutely don't lose any sleep about bathroom breaks and being eaten by a lion! Most of us need them and I've found the guides always obliging to find you the perfect spot which I'm sure they already have mapped out.

There is something appealing about "marking your territory" on African soil.
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Old Apr 30th, 2018, 06:51 PM
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I remember how overwhelming it was when we first started planning our trip to S Africa. So so much information. We also ended up using WildWings to design a tour for the 2 of us and were so very, very happy! They really kept to our budget and gave us an itenerary that was super clear... "Your driver will collect you at 9:30 just inside the lobby..."

Bottom line, many here will tell you to make sure you go to one private and one public reserve... the private able to go off road and at night. I feel strongly that one should do the public reserve first, otherwise not being able to go off-road could seem a disappointment. (btw.... my old trip report is somewhere here.)

The other would be whether or not you want to visit Cape Town... with their huge water crisis, I might pass unless it's on yur definite bucket list.

If you go to Victoria Falls, it's easy to get to Chobe in Botswana and this was a huge highlight for us. We were able to see so many gorgeous birds and other animals who live along the water... and even saw the elephants swimming across in a long line one evening!!

I see that WildWings now has a "canned" tour put together which essentially repeats our trip... Cape Town, private and public safari locations, Victoria Falls and Botswana. I really can't wait to go back one day!!
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